12/20/12

Ballet In Cinema: Dancing Stars From A Cinema Seat


By Jan Aaron

Ballet superstar David Hallberg made movie history at the Big Cinema in NYC. During a live HD transmission of the Bolshoi Ballet's Sleeping Beauty, he became the first American to join this famous Moscow company as a Principal Dancer.

I mention this now as just one example of how the magic of Ballet In Cinema can transport you to distant venues. There is of course, much more to see than Mr. Hallberg. Through several seasons, I've enjoyed the other famous companies in classics such as Britain's Royal Ballet in the classics like Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker Suite.

There have also been screenings of former Bolshoi Director Alex Ratmansky's Bright Stream satire on Russian farmers. Among the new offerings I look forward to in 2013, are The Royal Ballet's  Alice's Adventures in  Wonderland, and La Scala's Notre-Dame de Paris.

Most indelible in my memory is Silent Screen, choreographed by Sol Léon and Paul Lightfoot for the Nederlands Dans Theater. Seemingly set up like a film, with three large screens that show film fragments, the ballet highlights a couple in love and a little girl as they go through various emotional phases. The changing rhythms and original formations for ten dancers create surprising cinematic effects. It features layered music by Philip Glass' Glassworks.

Seeing ballet on the big screen has advantages: fabulous close-ups focusing on  pas de deux and demanding footwork. Plus during intermissions, interviews with choreographers and set designers.

You also get to see gorgeous venues like the enormous horseshoe shaped Bolshoi in Moscow. And watch the audience settle in plush seats.

More information about Ballet In Cinema and the various venues, is online at: Balletincinema.com

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AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.